Wearing a crisp suit adorned with the pin of a Navy SEAL and a black patch over his right eye, U.S. Rep.-elect Dan Crenshaw went a long way Saturday night toward offering all of us some things we desperately need in our current political culture: a sense of humor, a sense of forgiveness and a sense of magnanimity that no matter what our differences, we are all in this together as Americans.
Over the weekend, Crenshaw appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” where a week earlier, cast member Pete Davidson mocked his appearance because of that eye patch. Davidson failed to mention that Crenshaw wears the patch because he lost his right eye in 2012 after the detonation of an IED while he was serving in Afghanistan.
Crenshaw could easily have been a jerk in return. He wasn’t. He made a simple and transparently true statement that the wounds of our veterans should never be held up for mockery or sport.
Then he did one better. He showed up on “SNL” next to Davidson and gave us some real laughs, as well as a lesson we can all remember. In a political era when people love nothing more than to be offended and insist on apologies for said offenses, we were thrilled to see someone step up as the adult. And we were glad that “SNL” gave Crenshaw the platform it did.
It was heartening to see a display of grace, humor and humility play out live on national television. We hope others will watch this and learn from it, recognizing that despite our political differences, we’re real people and not cardboard cutouts.
In a final word, Crenshaw talked about the importance of the phrase “never forget” and what it means to the relationship between civilians and members of the armed forces. “And never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s father,” Crenshaw said. “So I’ll just say, Pete, never forget.”
Pete’s dad, Scott Davidson, was a New York City firefighter who lost his life on 9/11. Scott Davidson was last seen doing what heroes do: running toward danger and not away from it. In this case, running up the stairs of the Marriott World Trade Center shortly before it collapsed. Crenshaw served in Afghanistan, fighting al-Qaida and the Taliban in response to the vicious attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
What we saw on “SNL” was a reminder that, as Americans, our lives are inextricably linked. In this age of terror and division, we are stronger when we realize we are one people.